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St. Andrew’s Kirk/McDonald’s deliver on 200-backpack promise
By Matt Maura, BIS
Sep 1, 2012 - 12:29:27 PM

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Two hundred students from the Bain and Grants Town Community were presented with backpacks stuffed with school supplies on August 31 ahead of the 2012-2013 school year as a result of a donation by officials of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Kirk and McDonald's Restaurants. A portion of the large group are pictured showing off their backpacks along with Kirk officials and officials from the Bain and Grants Town Urban Renewal Project Office (West). (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

NASSAU, The Bahamas --- Officials of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk and McDonald’s Restaurants delivered on their promise to donate 200 backpacks to inner-city school children August 31, during a presentation at the Kirk Hall.

Inner-city youth from the Bain and Grants Town community were presented with the backpacks ahead of the opening of most schools Monday, Sept. 3. Donated by McDonald’s Restaurants, the backpacks were stuffed with school supplies bought by St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk.

The children were chaperoned by members of the Bain and Grants Town Urban Renewal Project Office with whom the Kirk has partnered on a number of community projects.

“Today was an important day for us in that we had a few of our members here in terms of persons such as Dr. Davidson Hepburn and Mr. Peter Bates and it is important for the community to know that there is a team of people here, working to help our community,” Reverend Bryn MacPhail, Pastor of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk said.

“It is important for them to know that the congregation here is onboard with the vision to reach our community and this is just a small step in that direction to tell the community that we sincerely care about them and that we want them and their children to succeed,” Reverend MacPhail added.

The fulfilment of the promise came just one week after Kirk officials donated 12 “fully loaded” backpacks to students from the Bain and Grants Town community as a reward for the children’s “enthusiastic participation” in the Kirk’s Tutoring Programme. The 12 were also presented with gift certificates to Sandy’s.

Reverend MacPhail said the give-a-ways are in line with the Kirk’s vision statement of: “Pursuing Christ-likeness and community transformation according to the Word of God.”

Miss Bethlee Gardiner, centre, who will enter the 11th grade at the CR Walker Secondary School when the new school year opens, received a special commendation for completing the 2011-2012 school year with a 3.73 Grade Point Average. Miss Gardiner is pictured with (from left) Reverend Bryn MacPhail, Pastor, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Kirk and Mrs. Diana Bullard, a community and youth manager/organiser in the Bain and Grants Town Community. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

“We are forging healthy relationships with our community and one of the ways to do that is to be generous with those who might need a little bit of help,” Reverend MacPhail said. “We understand that it can be expensive to furnish kids with clothes and supplies for school and so we wanted to step forward and assist as part of our ongoing collaboration with the Bain and Grants Town Urban Renewal (Project Office).

“McDonald’s has been a very generous partner in our efforts to help the community by donating 200 backpacks and so our obligation was merely to fill them with things. McDonald’s has also been generous in providing special dinners for the children and free sandwich coupons to further assist them,” Reverend MacPhail added.

Reverend MacPhail said the enthusiasm and gratitude of the children receiving the backpacks was heartwarming.

“It feels good to know that you are giving them a boost for their school year, that you’re equipping them to have a good start, but I think what is most gratifying for me is we have been doing this, or things like this … that I am seeing the same children and watching them grow up, and so its most rewarding for me to see the life changes in some of these boys and girls.

“ I just hope the Lord has me here long enough to see them all the way to the finish line,” Reverend MacPhail added.

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